Articles Posted in Personal Injury

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The Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s order dismissing Appellant’s claim against Metropolitan Utilities District (MUD) with prejudice, holding that the district court correctly determined that Appellant’s claim was time barred under the relevant provision of the Political Subdivisions Tort Claims Act (PSTCA), Neb. Rev. Stat. 13-919(1). Appellant filed a complaint alleging that MUD was negligent with respect to its duty to inspect, discover, and cure dangerous conditions of loose manhole covers. The district court granted MUD’s motion to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief could be granted, concluding that Appellant failed to satisfy a condition precedent to filing suit when she did not voluntarily withdraw her claim with MUD and that Appellant’s complaint was time barred under section 13-919(1). The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Appellant’s petition was filed outside of the timing requirements of section 13-919(1). View "Patterson v. Metropolitan Utilities District" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The Supreme Court affirmed the county court’s entry of summary judgment declaring that the proceeds of the Estate of Mark Anthony Helms be distributed pursuant to a prior federal court judgment applying North Carolina law, holding that there was no genuine issue of material fact precluding summary judgment. Decades after Helms died in a terrorist bombing, the estate obtained a wrongful death judgment in federal court determining that Helms had been domiciled in North Carolina and not Nebraska and that damages would be distributed according to North Carolina law. Later the successor personal representative of the Estate filed a probate case in the county court for Butler County a petition to authorize distribution of the judgment proceeds under Neb. Rev. Stat. 30-810, a Nebraska wrongful death statute. The county court ordered distribution pursuant to the federal court judgment applying North Carolina law. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because of the binding effect of the federal court judgment, the Nebraska wrongful death statute did not apply. View "In re Estate of Helms" on Justia Law

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In this case stemming from an electrician’s injuries after an aerial lift malfunctioned the Supreme Court affirmed the district court’s partial grant of Defendant’s motion to exclude expert testimony and grant of Defendant’s motion for summary judgment on all claims. While Plaintiff, the electrician, was working approximately thirty feet in the air on the raised platform of the aerial lift, the lift malfunction and tipped over. Plaintiff sustained serious injuries. Plaintiff sued Defendant, the manufacturer and designer of the lift, bringing strict liability claims, negligence claims, and an implied warranty claim. The district court partially granted Defendant’s motion to exclude Plaintiff’s expert opinions on the issues of unreasonably dangerous conditions, defect, causation, and alternative design and then entered summary judgment for Defendant on all claims. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in granting summary judgment in favor of Defendant on the strict products liability design and manufacturing defects claims. View "Pitts v. Genie Industries, Inc." on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The Supreme Court affirmed the determination of the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court that it lacked jurisdiction over Appellant’s petition and dismissing his claim, holding that the compensation court correctly dismissed Appellant’s petition for injuries sustained on the job in Alaska. Appellant was a Nebraska resident when he was hired by Trident Seafoods, a State of Washington corporation without a permanent presence in Nebraska. Appellant sustained a work-related injury while working at Trident Seafoods’ Alaska plant. Appellant filed a petition in the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Court claiming benefits under the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Act. The compensation court dismissed the petition for lack of jurisdiction, finding that Trident Seafoods was not a statutory employer under Neb. Rev. Stat. 48-106(1). The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Trident Seafoods was not a statutory employer, and therefore, the Nebraska Workers’ Compensation Act did not apply. View "Hassan v. Trident Seafoods" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the order of the district court granting Defendants’ motions to dismiss Plaintiff’s claim under the State Tort Claims Act (STCA), holding that the district court did not err in dismissing Plaintiff’s action against the State. Plaintiff, an inmate in the custody of the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (DCS), alleged in his complaint that his personal property was seized and improperly disposed of by DCS personnel. The district court concluded (1) Plaintiff’s claims against the individual defendants were barred by qualified immunity, and (2) as to the State, the claim was barred under Neb. Rev. Stat. 81-8,219(2) because the claim was an exception to the STCA’s waiver of sovereign immunity. Defendant appealed from the portion of the order dismissing his action against the State. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because the DCS personnel that detained Defendant’s property were “law enforcement officer[s]” covered by the exception to the waiver of sovereign immunity under section 81-8,219(2), the State did not waive sovereign immunity from Defendant’s claims. View "Rouse v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court granting summary judgment in favor of M&D Trucking, LLC (M&D) and dismissing Appellants’ claims in this personal injury action, holding that there were no genuine issues of material fact. A truck driver failed to stop at a stop sign and struck a vehicle carrying members of a family, three of whom died. The driver was driving a truck and trailer with Turbo Turtle Logistics LLC signage on the date of the accident. M&D was the company hired to transport the load Johnson carried during the accident. Appellants brought this action against M&D, alleging that M&D was liable for the driver’s negligence through the doctrine of respondent superior and that M&D was negligent in hiring, training, or supervising the driver. The district court granted summary judgment for M&D. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the driver’s relationship with M&D was that of an independent contractor; (2) M&D did not have liability under that independent contractor relationship for the driver’s negligence; and (3) M&D was not a motor carrier responsible for the driver’s hiring, training, or supervision. View "Sparks v. M&D Trucking, LLC" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The Supreme Court affirmed the finding of the Workers’ Compensation Court that Employee, who was injured during the course and scope of her employment, had reached maximum medical improvement prior to the stroke she suffered approximately three weeks after she filed her petition in the compensation court seeking temporary and permanent disability benefits and the compensation court’s award of permanent total disability, holding that the compensation court did not err. The stroke suffered by Employee was unrelated to her work injury or treatment and left Employee largely incapacitated. The compensation court awarded Employee permanent total disability benefits, thus rejecting Employer’s contention that the occurrence of the stroke relieved Employer of the ongoing responsibility to pay total disability benefits. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the compensation court did not err in (1) finding Employee reached maximum medical improvement prior to her stroke; (2) finding Employee was permanently and totally disabled; and (3) finding the stroke had no impact on Employee’s entitlement to ongoing permanent total disability benefits. View "Krause v. Five Star Quality Care, Inc." on Justia Law

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At issue in this appeal was whether the statutory scheme regulating intrastate motor carriers imputes an employer-employee relationship between a general contractor and a subcontracting motor carrier’s employee for purposes of vicarious liability under respondent superior. The employee of a registered motor carrier caused an accident while returning the motor carrier’s truck after delivering the final load of the day under a contract between the motor carrier and a general contractor, also a registered motor carrier. The representative of the injured party sued the the driver, the driver’s employer, and the general contractor. The trial court granted summary judgment for the general contractor. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the driver was not a common law employee or a statutory employee of the general contractor for purposes of vicarious liability under respondeat superior; and (2) the general contractor was not liable under any of the exceptions to a general contractor’s nonliability for the acts or omissions of an independent contractor. View "Cruz v. Lopez" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the district court dismissing Plaintiff’s amended complaint against two religious organizations alleging fraudulent concealment, holding that the district court properly determined that Plaintiff’s claims were barred by the statute of limitations. In her amended complaint, Plaintiff alleged that when she gave birth, Defendants kidnapped her newborn son and fraudulently concealed his adoption. The district court dismissed the amended complaint based upon the statute of limitations. On appeal, Plaintiff argued that her allegation of fraudulent concealment tolled the statute. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because Plaintiff failed particularly to allege fraudulent concealment, the statute of limitations did not toll. View "Chafin v. Wisconsin Province Society of Jesus" on Justia Law

Posted in: Personal Injury

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In this workers’ compensation case, the Supreme Court affirmed the compensation court’s findings that Plaintiff was entitled to benefits and that the court did not have jurisdiction to resolve issues regarding a third-party settlement but reversed the compensation court’s denial of Plaintiff’s request that she be awarded penalties, attorney fees, and interest. Plaintiff was driving a school bus when the bus was struck by a drunk driver, injuring Plaintiff. Plaintiff’s employer (Employer) paid workers’ compensation benefits for a time but refused to pay benefits when Plaintiff asserted that she was permanently disabled as a result of her injuries. The workers’ compensation court concluded (1) Plaintiff was entitled to additional benefits; (2) the court did not have jurisdiction to grant relief requested by Employer concerning a settlement that Plaintiff entered into with the third party who caused her injuries; and (3) Plaintiff was not entitled to penalties, attorney fees, and interest. The Supreme Court held that the compensation court (1) correctly concluded that it lacked jurisdiction to resolve disputes related to Plaintiff’s settlement with the third-party tortfeasor; (2) correctly found that Plaintiff was entitled to permanent partial disability benefits; but (3) was clearly wrong in denying Plaintiff penalties, attorney fees, and interest because there was no reasonable controversy regarding her entitlement to benefits. View "Gimple v. Student Transportation of America" on Justia Law